A Tiananmen Square activist who became a well known figure in the Chinese Christian community has stepped down from his pastoral duties and ministries following accusations that he’d raped fellow Chinese dissident and Christian convert Chai Ling.
Chai accused Yuan Zhiming, founder of China Soul for Christ Foundation, of raping her at her apartment in Princeton, New Jersey back in 1990, before either of them had converted to Christianity.
Chai is a two-time Nobel Prize nominee and founder of All Girls Allowed, an organization focused on girls affected by China’s one-child policy. Yuan is a prominent voice in the Chinese Christian diaspora. Both are activists associated with the 1989 democracy movement in Beijing who fled China and eventually ended up in the US.
Following Chai’s initial accusation in 2009, she has continued to press Yuan for a confession as part of a three-step process of reconciliation of sin, but he denied any allegations against him, admitting only that he had engaged in “sexual immorality”. As the case gained more attention and new accusations of sexual misconduct by Yuan began to surface, a group of 18 esteemed Chinese pastors launched an independent committee of inquiry, according to Christianity Today.
Amid mounting pressure over the allegations, Yuan this past weekend resigned from his duties related to the China Soul for Christ Foundation. He released a statement in English today explaining that he left “so as to retreat in the Lord and seek renewal”.
I do admit that I am a sinner, and it was by the grace of God that I am what I am. […] For the extramarital sexual iniquity that I once committed in 1990 before I became a born-again Christian, I once again confess my sins to God and seek His forgiveness, and offer my apologies to the party that [was] involved in that relationship. I am also deeply sorrowed by all the harms and troubles that [have been] caused among the brothers and sisters at God’s church. I beg for their forgiveness.
[…]To God and to the public, although I could quietly endure the false accusations, I, however, could not and would not admit those sins which I have not committed […] I deny all of the defamatory accusations involving ‘rape’, ‘attempted seduction’ and ‘sexual assault’.
Chai sent a description of the alleged rape in a private email to Yuan, claiming that he asked her to watch the Korean sex comedy Horny Family with him before assaulting her.
“I asked you to leave, but you grabbed me and physically pushed me to the carpet. You raped me right there and you covered my eyes with the jackets that fell during my struggle,” she wrote.
Chai, who has not sought to have Yuan prosecuted, took a polygraph test last year and passed, her supporters say. They have urged Yuan to submit to a test as well.
[Image via Christianity Today]